S A Armour Corps





SOUTH AFRICAN
ARMOUR COMMUNITY



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About - Armour games - Horse riding | Track laying
Horse riding   Go top

How traditionally it is for ‘Men in Armour’ to have a horse, or, something to remind them of their cavalry heritage.

This is the story of the first horse or horses received by the School of Armour and which became known as the ‘Pantserperdjie’ (Armour Horse).

These ‘Armour Horses’ being made of wood, started off as a ‘Do It Yourself’ article which appeared in the world famous ‘Illustrated Mechanics’ magazine, sometime in the early 1970's. A certain warrant officer Shultz, Technical Services Corps, 61 Base Workshop, Pretoria saw this article and being a hobby man wanted to build one of these horses, but unfortunately did not have the correct type of wood, and wood strong enough for a person to mount.

A certain Major R.G. (Boer) Smit, Staff Officer Small Arms, Technical Services Corps, being interested in this horse authorised the used of blocks of Canadian Birch wood which became redundant. The wood was used in the manufacturing of wooden rifle-butts used on the .303 No 4 rifle, which were being phased out with the introduction of the 7,62 mm R1 Assault rifle.

Using these blocks of wood a number of these wooden horses were made during 1972. The same year 61 Base Workshop wanted to raise funds for the unit and it was decided to use these horses at the annual Pretoria Agricultural Show. A race was organised for a distance of 20 metres, entry fee was R5,00 and the winner received a prize. The event attracted large crowds and the horses were pushed to their limits. Maj Boer Smit, by this time, was a seasoned rider and also won a grand set of tools, which he still possesses to date. It was quite an art to master these ‘Bucking Broncos’.

These horses became quite popular in Pretoria and a quantity was made and sold boosting the unit’s funds even more. The horse once again made a grand appearance, this time during a Formal Dinner held at the Technical Service Corps Training Centre, circa 1972. Amongst the invited guests were Gen W.P. Louw, Chief of the Army and the newly appointed Director of Armour, Brigadier J.R. (Jack) Dutton, and many more.

Once the formal dinner was over and the guests were settling down to a good cigar and liqueur, out comes Maj Boer Smit with his ‘Bucking Broncos’, with permission of course. He gives an excellent show of horsemanship by riding a few circuits around the hall. Easy the guests thought and the fun began. Not to be outdone, and being an armour man himself the General decided to have a go. Unfortunately, however, he chose a battle scared bronco with old loose joints and wobbly legs (a veteran from the Pretoria Show). This old bronco promptly bucked him with medals, mess dress and all. On rising from the wooden floor, straightening his medals and dress, keeping a straight face, he banned the horses from being ridden at any formal dinner in the Pretoria district

A much-disappointed Maj Boer Smit rounded up his horses. He was immediately approached by Brigadier Jack Dutton who acquired two of these wooden brutes, deciding that the Men in Armour shall ride again, having in mind the Armour Symposium to take place at the School of Armour later that year.

But as the saying goes ‘you cannot keep a good horse down’ they once again made their appearance, this time at Sandock Austral, the manufacturer of the Eland armoured car. They were also now cavalry orientated. On conclusion of a general meeting and a get together for drinks, out came the Bucking Broncos. Attending this general meeting was the late Gen J.F. Janse van Rensburg, as a colonel from the armoured corps. He had the following to say when asked about the Bucking Broncos, “It is a terribly difficult thing to balance yourself on, and remember, you also have to go forward with the thing as well.” Thing! What did the Colonel think, talking about horses like that?

In October 1972, during the Armour Symposium conducted at the School of Armour, Tempe Bloemfontein, and once again after a formal dinner, out came the Bucking Broncos, one silver, the other blue. These two were officially handed over by Brigadier Jack Dutton to the late Colonel J.F. Janse van Rensburg, Officer Commanding School of Armour. At long last the Bucking Broncos found their way to an armour unit, who promptly named them ‘Pantserperd’ (Armour Horse). Brigadier Jack Dutton also explained the basic riding method and the fun began. Many an armour man and guests once again left the dinner with a scratched face or scuffed knees. On this occasion the arena was the cement floor of the bar, no mats to soften the fall.

These two battles scarred "Pantserperdjies" were duly made battle-worthy again with the repair of loose joints and cracks and a coat of paint. The silver horse was aptly named "General Jack" which was painted on the side of the horse in bold black letters.

To date these two "perdjies" are still bucking young riders who think being Men in Armour, they can master anything.

A certificate was issued to a rider who could ride the "perdjie" a distance of 5 metres on a highly polished wooden or cement floor without touching the surface with either foot or being bucked off.
 
Track laying   Go top

Five members of the same rank group must try to lay an object as far as possible by laying on top of each other with only their hands touching the floor. (Their feet are suspended on a barstool).

One member at a time climbs from the behind the stool and moves as far as possible. The next member climbs from behind the stool over the member and rests his feet on those member’s shoulders this action is done by all. Once the object has been placed, all members must move back over the stool without falling or collapsing the worm. The losing team buys a round of drinks for the winners.
 
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